What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a serotonin modulator that is used to help manage depression. This medication will increase the natural levels of serotonin found in the brain and help the brain maintain that balance so the user will be less likely to fall into a depressive state. Trazodone cannot cure depression, but it can help alleviate some of the symptoms to make your condition more manageable. Your dose of Trazodone may need to be changed often, so it is important to work with a doctor so you can have your condition monitored to help avoid potential negative reactions or side effects to the drug.

Indications and Usage

Trazodone, or trazodone hydrochloride can be sold under the name Desyrel. It may take up to two weeks before Trazodone takes its full effect. Do not stop taking your medication suddenly if it does not appear to be working or if you begin to feel better. This can lead to the risk of withdrawal effects which can be dangerous or harmful to the body.

Trazodone is typically prescribed to assist in the management of depression, but it may also be used to treat schizophrenia, insomnia, or anxiety. In some cases this medication may also be used to help control abnormal movements in the body that are side effects of other medications you might be taking. Trazodone is available in tablet form and it to be taken by mouth. In most cases, Trazodone is intended to be taken with food and should be taken around the same time every day. Trazodone should not be stored in the bathroom or in any other room that is prone to collecting moisture.

Trazodone Dosage

Doctors will usually start patients on a lower dose of Trazodone for the first 3-4 days and then increase the medication as necessary to treat their condition. If you will be taking Trazodone to help control depression, you may have your prescription decreased once your condition has become more stable. The typical adult dosage of Trazodone is 150 mg per day for the initial 3-4 days. This may be increased by 50 mg every three to four days as necessary.

The minimum effective dose of Trazodone is 150 mg in divided doses for adults. The maximum dose for outpatients is 400 mg per day, though severely depressed patients or those who are inpatients may receive up to 600 mg per day in divided doses. Children should not be given Trazodone as they run a higher risk of developing suicidal tendencies while on antidepressants. For similar reasons, seniors are typically restricted to half the recommended adult dose. This will only be increased if the patient is able to tolerate the medication safely.

The safety of using Trazodone while pregnant has not yet been established. Due to the hormonal changes during this time, women may need to have their dosing adjusted while they are pregnant. Do not take Trazodone while pregnant unless your doctor determines that the benefits outweigh the risk.

Trazodone Side Effects

The most common side effects of Trazodone include drowsiness, in nearly 41 percent of patents, dry mouth in about 34 percent of users, dizziness in 28 percent of users, headaches in up to 20 percent of users, nervousness in 15 percent, blurred vision in 15 percent, nausea in 13 percent, or fatigue in 11 percent. As your body gets used to the medication these symptoms typically become less severe or are eliminated completely. If they do not disappear or become worse, contact your doctor to determine the best course of action for alleviating your symptoms. You should not stop taking Trazodone suddenly unless your doctor tells you to.

Additional common side effects of Trazodone include constipation in 7.6 percent of users, low blood pressure in up to 7 percent, sinus congestion, weight loss, muscle pain and shakiness in up to 6 percent of users. In most cases, these side effects do not require medical attention, but report them to your doctor to ensure that you are taking the proper dose of Trazodone.

In less common cases patients reported fainting, a general feeling of discomfort, lack of coordination, swelling, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, nervousness, muscle tremors, headaches, decreased concentration or confusion. These could be a sign of a more serious condition, so it is important to report them to your doctor as soon as possible. If you feel as though your symptoms may be life threatening, contact emergency medical services or poison control to get help immediately.

Children and seniors run a much higher risk of developing side effects than other groups. If your doctor determines someone in this age range should take Trazodone, have their condition monitored carefully to ensure that proper dosage is being administered. Pregnant women run the risk of developing complications with the fetus while on Trazodone. You can transfer Trazodone via breast milk so it is important to discuss the risk of exposing your child to this medication before continuing your prescription.

In some laboratory tests, it has been implied that Trazodone may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. If you have a family history of this disease or you are aware of any predisposition to the condition, talk with your doctor about the potential risk. Perform regular breast examinations to check for potential tumors to avoid a potentially life threatening condition.

In the case of an overdose patients may feel drowsiness, hypotension or excessive sedation. These feelings of fatigue or weakness often come on around 3 hours of ingesting Trazodone. If you begin to feel these symptoms or you notice you have taken more than your allotted dose of Trazodone, seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Overdosing on Trazodone is not necessarily life threatening, but it will require medical attention to avoid doing damage to the body.

If you begin to notice an unexplained rash or excessive excitement you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to Trazodone. Contact your doctor to report your symptoms and get your symptoms checked out as soon as possible. Talk with your doctor about whether or not your symptoms will require you to eliminate Trazodone from your routine.


While taking Trazodone you may need to avoid blood thinners, antibiotics, heart or blood pressure medication, other antidepressants, antifungal medication, heart rhythm medication, HIV/AIDS medication, or seizure medication. These may create a negative reaction when these medications interact with those in Trazodone. Tell your doctor about any medications you might be taking to avoid a potential overdose. Specific drugs that should be avoided while on Trazodone include digoxin, chloronquine, meflouquine, dolasetron, ondansetron, or sumatriptan.

Trazodone is known for interacting with grapefruit. Talk with your doctor if you regularly eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice to determine what size servings are safe to consume. You should avoid narcotics while on Trazodone as these can increase the level of sedation caused by the drug, which could lead to a potentially dangerous reaction.

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